Top 10 firms for customer happiness
Customer satisfaction has been on the increase in recent months. With firms ramping up their efforts to keep their customers happy and provide a better service it seems that shoppers are reaping the benefits.
The Institute of Customer Service monitors the performance of UK companies twice a year, and it says the services sector was the top performer in the last half of the year. In particular, supermarkets gave a high level of customer satisfaction. Retail, tourism and the automotive sector followed.
But utilities firms and public services companies did not fare so well, although it was noted that they have seen notable improvements and narrowed the gap to the better-performing sectors. However, with spending cuts ongoing, there are fears that the quality, responsiveness and accessibility of public services will fall.
So who were the best performers in terms of customer satisfaction and how can other businesses learn from them?
The top performers (score out of 100)
1. John Lewis (89)
2. Waitrose (89)
3. BUPA (88)
4. Marks & Spencer (food) (87)
5. Lloyds Pharmacy (86)
6. Marriott (86)
7. SAGA Holidays (85)
8. Enterprise Rent-A-Car (85)
9. Boots (84)
10. P&O Cruises (84)
The data was gathered via an online questionnaire and some 26,000 adults took part in the survey. They were asked to rate the firms on 10 factors:
1. Overall quality of the product or service
2. Being treated as a valued customer
3. Speed of service
4. Friendliness of staff
5. Handling of problems and complaints
6. Handling of enquiries
7. Competence of staff
8. Ease of doing business
9. Being kept informed
10. Helpfulness of staff
These are said to be the key factors that influence how satisfied a customer is with a particular business. The list demonstrates that there are many areas which each firm must look at in order to retain customers, but one is not necessarily more important than any other.
A customer service policy that includes all these aspects is bound to be the most successful. There is little point selling an amazing product if your website makes it difficult and frustrating for customers to complete a purchase. But there is also no point having helpful, friendly staff if they are slow to provide assistance.
Firms in the top 10 are the best at balancing all these factors and utilising each element in their customer service process. Look down the list and pick one or two you can focus on straightaway, then implement more in-depth training and development for your staff to work on the others.